Despite being nicknamed 'il Pazzo' (the crazy one), even Giampaolo Pazzini "couldn't have dreamt of a better debut" for FC Internazionale Milano. Just two days after signing from UC Sampdoria, the Italy striker came on as a half-time substitute, scored twice and earned a penalty as the Nerazzurri roused themselves from 2-0 down to beat US Città di Palermo 3-2 at San Siro yesterday.
The 26-year-old, who signed a contract until 2015 on Friday, was sent into the fray by Leonardo after Palermo had taken a healthy lead courtesy of goals from Fabrizio Miccoli and Antonio Nocerino. Just 11 minutes later, Pazzini controlled a ball in the box with his back to goal, turned superbly and scored with a low shot.
With 17 minutes remaining, after Inter No1 Júlio César had saved a penalty from Javier Pastore, Pazzini then connected perfectly with Maicon's free-kick from the right and headed in the equaliser. He was not done there either, as three minutes later he was fouled in the box by Ezequiel Muñoz, allowing Samuel Eto'o to score the winner from the penalty spot.
"I couldn't have dreamt of a better debut," Pazzini said. "It does feel like a dream, though. It's been an incredible afternoon, full of excitement and joy. A day like this is very difficult to forget." The victory, which allowed Inter to return to within nine points of Serie A leaders AC Milan with a game in hand, came a week after Leonardo's first defeat at the helm.
"Inter have proved to everybody that we're very much in the mix," Pazzini continued. "As I said when I joined, this team is still very hungry to win. At half-time I saw how eager my team-mates were to come back and, even when we made it 2-2, we were not satisfied because we wanted the three points.
"I want to thank my team-mates. I was only able to adapt so quickly because it's very easy to play with them. I knew these players from facing them as opponents, but when you play alongside them you understand even better how strong they are. For a striker like me, it is as good as it gets. I'm not thinking about the competition for places in attack at the moment.
If I always score two goals when I come on, I'll be able to accept starting every game on the bench."
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.